Failure? Why not?

Hmmm. Judging from the views of this space, the puns are not packing them in!

Wonder if they are driving them away.

 So maybe the pun of the day will go into the list of failed ideas I am celebrating. However, if you want them, let me know. I’m nowhere near out of them.  I’m also having second thoughts about a daily blog post. Kim DeYoung, who sends me free advice about blogging, suggests three posts a week. Perhaps quality over quantity is best.
Well, I’m fairly new at this, so I would appreciate feed back from either of my regular readers. (You know who you are.)

Note that I said I’m celebrating my failures. At laugh2learn training sessions we almost always take time to celebrate failure. (I know I have written about this before, but it is so important it bears repeating.) If you Google “failure quotes,” you will find dozens of them, but my favorite is from Michael Jordan:

 I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

It’s somewhat ironic that I encourage everyone to accept and celebrate failure. Once in a conversation with my friend and colleague Andrea Engstrom, I was ranting on about how acceptance and celebration of failure is such a big part of improv based training, and how I always include a “celebrate failure” exercise in my training sessions. Not too much deeper into the conversation, I confessed that I wasn’t a very good salesman because I had a tremendous fear of rejection. Andrea just looked at me.

“Oh,” I said in a very small voice. “Fear of rejection is a lot like fear of failure, isn’t it?”

The next week I called on three potential clients, and two of them scheduled training sessions!

Sometimes you just have to practice what you preach!

Celebrate Failure

In almost every training we do at laugh2learn the opportunity arises to celebrate failure. Usually it’s when someone says, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand,” or something similar. At that point we interrupt whatever we are doing to talk just a bit about failure and why it is so destructive to be ashamed of it. If you haven’t failed, you’re not trying enough new things.

We then get into a circle and I invite participants to step forward and announce their failures and we all cheer. I am amazed that almost always at least two-thirds of the participants want to announce a failure. At a recent training at an academic institution where  students and faculty were participating together, a professor stepped forward and announced that he had submitted many articles that were never published. We all cheered, and I think the students really appreciated hearing of a professor’s failure.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Hear what Michael Jordan had to say about failure:

 “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

So, be bold. Take a risk. Take the shot. Sometimes you will fail. Celebrate that. It means you were trying.

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